Martin Carpentier was an exemplary father, but plagued by the fear of losing Norah and Romy

Martin Carpentier had his mind haunted by a morbid fear of losing his children and the year 2020 only fueled his ghost, according to relatives heard on the second day of the public inquiry into the tragic disappearance of the sisters Norah and Romi.

All praise an exemplary father, entirely devoted to his children. All also describe a man plagued by the fear of running out of money and by an obsessive and growing anguish, that of seeing Norah and Romy, the heart of his life, snatched from him.

Martin Carpentier was not well in the months leading up to the fateful day of July 8 when, after a swerve on Highway 20, he fled with his little girls into a wooded area of ​​Saint-Apollinaire, never to come out again.

He had lost a lot of weight, said Tuesday morning Gaétane Tremblay, the grandmother of the two children who shared a duplex with Martin Carpentier until the tragedy. His behavior became erratic and he no longer regularly took his Synthroid, a hormone taken to relieve a disordered thyroid gland. Her anxiety about losing her daughters, exacerbated by the pandemic, money worries and divorce proceedings initiated without their mother’s knowledge, took more and more space in her mind.

“It was a constant preoccupation, an obsession. It happened very, very, very often. The more I saw that he was losing weight, the more I saw that he was not well, and the more he talked about it, ”said the grandmother in front of the coroner.

The gentle and affable Martin that everyone knew lived more and more with an unrecognizable double, the father imprisoned by an irrational fear of losing custody of his daughters.

“Martin didn’t like anyone other than himself taking care of his children,” Tremblay. The father went so far as to lie to the woman who shared his life since 2016 to devote himself body and soul to his daughters. “Even when he didn’t keep them, he told his girlfriend that he had them. Martin said, ‘All of a sudden their mother calls me, I want to be available.'”

Gaétane Tremblay explained that Martin Carpentier often crossed her home to confide in her about his moods. The relationship between the two, says the grandmother, was warm. “He was an integral part of our family. We hadn’t abandoned him. We don’t leave anyone behind. »

The spring which preceded the tragedy had, however, experienced Martin Carpentier. Unemployed when construction sites were forced to close, he complained of financial worries and confided his fear of having to sell his house. “He said one day: “there Gaétane, I’m going to have to move”. He came back two days later saying, “everything is settled.” He was afraid he would run out of money, the grandmother said. It was constant with him. »

For a period of three to four weeks in the spring of 2020, the father of the family had to work at night. The episode, believes Gaétane Tremblay, accelerated his downfall. “It degenerated because during the day he was unable to sleep. He was more nervous, he had lost weight”, to the point where she suggested to him, at the beginning of June, to go to consult in psychology, convinced that he was suffering from depression. Again in June, Martin Carpentier had met the spouse of Amélie Lemieux to make strange, disjointed remarks to him.

Gaétane Tremblay does not know if the father asked for or obtained help. Before the tragedy. She remembers, however, that Martin Carpentier seemed even more “agitated, nervous and emaciated” during the first week of July – just a few days before the tragedy.

“He had arrived one sweaty afternoon and he had said point-blank ‘I don’t want to remarry, I don’t want to sell the house, I don’t want a divorce. He was shaking. Gaétane Tremblay replied that she was beginning to find it difficult to absorb her anxieties and doubts. “If you have things to say, go see the people concerned, she remembers having replied to her former son-in-law. I’m tired, I’m exhausted. »

That evening, worried about her condition, she had visited Martin Carpentier. “He was calm,” she recalls. He said it was fine. Two days later, on July 8, he was having supper with Gaétane Tremblay, “happy and relaxed”, surrounded by a string of children, cousins ​​and cousins ​​who “adored going down to Quebec to visit Norah and Romy.” »

A few hours later, at 8 p.m., he left with his two daughters for ice cream. “He never came back,” sobbed the grandmother. Behind my house, I have a large window. I still see him every day who comes to tell me that he is going to Favorite Chocolates with the children…”

Six hours before the arrival of an investigator

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